John Legend on How His Daughter-to-Be Inspires New Music: I'm Writing About the 'World My Daughter's Going to Be Born Into'
The singer – whose wife Chrissy Teigen is expecting their first child – speaks with PEOPLE at SXSW Music
“Sometimes I am just making it up as I go,” Legend, 36, told PEOPLE with a laugh at SXSW Music’s AXE Collective event in Austin on March 17. “She doesn’t know the difference yet.”
Prior to becoming a dad, the Oscar and Grammy-winning musician is busy working on his new album – the followup to 2013’s hit Love in the Future is due this May – and his continued partnership with AXE. Legend handpicked five musicians from a nationwide search to join the AXE Collective, the music and film mentorship program he created, and accompany him on the stage as they made their debut at SXSW. There, he spoke with PEOPLE about how his journey to parenthood with wife Teigen, 30, inspires his creative process.
“I’ve written a couple [songs], but we’ll see which ones make the album,” he shared. “I think the whole album is just to be honest about where I am in my life and how I see the world and the world my daughter’s going to be born into.”
Legend is already prepared for raising a girl: surrounded by strong female role models as a child, he gained a keen awareness of women that influences how he approaches life and lyrics.
“I think all my songs treat women as equals because I believe they are and should be treated as such,” he said. “And I feel like if you approach love songs with the kind of respect and maturity they should have, then you will have songs that respect women and are also honest and true.”
And the crooner is also passionate about racial issues, especially in context of the 2016 presidential election. Earlier this month, a Twitter feud erupted between the singer and Republican hopeful Donald Trump‘s son Donald Trump Jr. after Legend called the nominee “racist.”
“Sometimes you have to be careful about how much you share and how much you interact, but overall I think it’s been really positive for artists to have that interaction,” Legend told PEOPLE of social media, on which Teigen is equally outspoken.
He continued: “And you know all of us are going to make mistakes here and there as we do it, but that’s just part of figuring out who you are as a person and how you navigate this open environment. Not having the PR filter … works pretty well for us. People get to know us and get to hear from us directly.”